Drawn Together

by Minh Le (Author) Dan Santat (Illustrator)

Drawn Together
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

A boy and his grandfather cross a language and cultural barrier using their shared love of art, storytelling, and fantasy. When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.

With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this stirring picture book about reaching across barriers will be cherished for years to come.

The recipient of six starred reviews and the APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature!


Booklist

Starred Review

Focus on an underrepresented culture; highly accessible emotions; concise, strong storytelling; and artistic magnificence make this a must-have.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

This story from Lè (Let Me Finish!), about a Thai-speaking grandfather and his assimilated American grandson, testifies to the mighty power of art. The opening sequence shows the boy getting dropped off by his mother and glumly ringing his grandfather's doorbell. A gulf of age and language separates the two. Though the grandfather is dressed in Western clothes, he puts his hands together in a traditional Thai greeting. In the panel artwork that follows, the grandfather's speech appears in Thai script, the boy's in English. In despair, the boy pulls out his sketchbook and draws a boy wizard with a peaked hat. Grandfather, it turns out, can draw, too. His wizard, clothed in magnificent Thai ceremonial garb, is a showstopper. A phantasmagoric duel begins: "All the things we could never say come pouring out." Santat's work dazzles with layers of color, exquisitely worked traditional designs, and ambitious scale. With the grandfather drawing in his idiom and the boy in his, the two defeat the dragon of difference that separates them and discover that they do not need to be able to speak in order to communicate. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. Illustrator's agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (June)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2--An American-born child tells about his visit to his grandfather. Their meeting is awkward at first since the boy doesn't speak Thai; the older man doesn't speak English. The reluctant narrator's entrance into his grandfather's home begins before the title page and continues wordlessly in a series of panels. Different foods and television programs exacerbate their inability to communicate verbally, all depicted in spare text and panels of translucent illustrations. The boy gives up talking, instead opening his backpack to pull out a sketch of a superhero. He is surprised when his grandfather's sketchbook reveals another superhero, which leads them to discover "a world beyond words." The boy and his grandfather connect when creating an artful world: one colorful, childlike; the other in sophisticated black-and-white line drawings. When the magic seems to dissipate, a dragon enters and appears to separate them--but once again the pair is drawn together in a satisfying conclusion that requires few if any words. VERDICT This handsomely illustrated book is perfectly paced to express universal emotions that connect generations separated by time, experience, and even language. It is sure to appeal widely on many levels.--Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Named a Best Book of 2018 by the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Smithsonian, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Booklist, the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, BookRiot, the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library-and many more!
Minh Le
Minh Lê is a writer but, like his grandfather, is a man of few words. He is a national early childhood policy expert, author of Let Me Finish! (illustrated by Isabel Roxas), and has written for the New York Times, the Horn Book, and the Huffington Post. A first-generation Vietnamese-American, he went to Dartmouth College and has a master's in education from Harvard University. Outside of spending time with his beautiful wife and sons in their home near Washington, DC, Minh's favorite place to be is in the middle of a good book. Visit Minh online at minhlebooks.com or on Twitter @bottomshelfbks.

Dan Santat is the author and illustrator of the Caldecott Award-winning The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, as well as The Cookie Fiasco, After the Fall, and others. He is also the creator of Disney's animated hit, The Replacements. Dan lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, and a menagerie of pets. Visit him at dantat.com.

Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9781484767603
Lexile Measure
N/A
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publication date
June 20, 2018
Series
-
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Award
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred

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